News Archive
March 2019 Exhibit

Voyages and Migrations
Miki’ala Souza
Imogen Gallery is honored to be hosting a solo exhibition for Astoria artist Miki’ala Souza.  Voyages and Migrations opens March 9th for Astoria’s Second Saturday Artwalk with a reception for Souza, 5 – 8 pm.  Souza, an accomplished printmaker brings a new series of monotypes and chine colle prints that explore journey and migration of people from one culture to another. All are invited to enjoy good company and conversation with the artist during the reception. The exhibition will be on view through April 9th.
Souza, a native Hawaiian brings a complex series of montypes and chine colle prints for her first solo exhibition at Imogen Gallery. For this series she depicts waterways and currents that might be utilized to traverse from homeland to a new and unknown environment. Her imagery acts as representation of past to present and the overlapping of cultures that ensue by migration. Through the intrinsic layering process of printmaking she brings dramatic imagery of rich and saturated color. Incorporating bold swathes of sheer inks to act as current, finding themselves winding over the page in rhythmic patterns such as a traveler trusting themselves to currents that propel them around the globe. The very process of printmaking is a perfect metaphor for this transference of cultural identity that Souza depicts in each composition, weaving the layers of inks to create an imprint of one’s history, building a sense of journey from past while fusing that with present and giving reference to what may come with new sense of identity.

Souza is both a practicing artist and educator, teaching art at the high school level and in the past printmaking at Clatsop Community College. She has always had a strong love of travel, exploring the world to deepen her own knowledge of sense of place. Her prints include bits and pieces of all the places that have touched her through experience and memory. Souza’s exploration of other cultures includes six months study at Parsons School of Design in Paris, three months in the Solomon Islands studying art practices in a small village, as well as multiple trips to New Zealand including one visit granted by the Oregon Arts Commission for residency and exhibitions of indigenous artists.  About her work she states, “The spaces created during the monotype process of layering ink, build elusive landscapes full of symbolism, depth and color.  I build environments that combine influences from my immediate surroundings as well as imagery from my indigenous background.”

February 2019 Exhibit


Paintings by George Wilson

With the annual FisherPoets Gathering just around the corner, Imogen Gallery is pleased to be hosting the third solo exhibition by professional artist/fisherman, George Wilson, who resides in Portland, Oregon.  Tides opens February 9th during the Astoria Second Saturday Artwalk with a reception from 5 – 8 pm.  Friday. February 22nd from 4 – 6 pm, all are invited for a welcoming reception, to kick off the full weekend of events scheduled for FisherPoets Gathering. The exhibition will remain on display through March 5th.

One wouldn’t quickly draw a parallel of career choices between the fishing industry and the arts, whether visual or literary, yet it seems more prevalent than one might assume.  Year after year the fishermen who might be poets, or vice versa, convene in Astoria to share their prose, their short stories, their livelihood with those of us who have perhaps never been to sea, let alone experienced first-hand the hard and dangerous work of being a commercial fisherman. Likewise, with visual artists who make their living from the sea. George Wilson is one of those unique individuals, who from childhood has enjoyed the beauty, sometimes solitude and unpredictability of the fishing industry while combining that with his other love, that of the visual language which he utilizes to narrate his observations as a fisherman.  

For this series Wilson brings a collection of small and ethereal watercolor paintings that reflect his strong connection to the sea and its tributaries. Growing up in a generational fishing family in a small village off the coast of Scotland, waterways have always been a part of his existence, as well as a source of livelihood. That profound connection has culminated in an enchanting series of paintings that serve as visual poetry to places he's been, reflecting shoreline and its ever changing edges that define and connect land to sea through ebb and flow of tide.

He shares with the viewer his love of landscape with dreamlike renditions of places that resonate a deep and rooted sense of nostalgia. About the series he states, “My home village sits on a headland that juts into the sea. In the Moray Firth, my first ocean, the tides run hard and strong. I am fascinated by the surfaces of water- the patterns, lines and shapes the tides paint in their movement. Tides have brought me an understanding an understanding of timeless impermanence. I seek solace in the waters and in their truth:  change is the constant. I am blessed by the waters at this time when the social, political and planetary tides stir our depths and ripple through our lives.”
Wilson who has painted as long as he’s fished, eventually found himself entering the academic world with studies at Gray’s School of Art, one of the United Kingdom’s most prestigious art schools located in Aberdeen, Scotland.  After graduating with a focus on painting and drawing, he found his way back to the sea where his time was shared between fishing trips and the studio.  His work is a beautiful balance of both worlds with one love always merging with the other. 

January 2019 Exhibit

Ryan Dobrowski
Discover Solitude

Many artists can spend a lifetime trying to master one art form, Ryan Dobrowski happens to be one of those rare individuals who seems to cultivate a balance between two very different artistic expressions, music and painting.  The Astoria based artist brings to Imogen a new collection of landscape paintings that inspire a sense of self-discovery and reflection. The exhibition, Discover Solitude opens Saturday, January 12, 5 – 8 pm with a reception for Dobrowski, who will be present and available to answer questions about his work. Light bites and drink will be provided by Astoria Coffeehouse and Bistro.  Discover Solitude will be on view through February 5th.

Ryan Dobrowski is not one to sit idle; creative and physical energy seem to perpetually feed his talents. Known as drummer to the internationally known indie-pop band, Blind Pilot, Dobrowski still finds time to express himself through the visual language. Although he has cultivated a successful career as a musician, honing his skills as a drummer since childhood he has also consistently worked to express himself through painting, earning a BFA from the University of Oregon.

For this series, his third solo show at Imogen, Dobrowski, focuses entirely on landscape, not so much in reference of direct place but rather to conjure a sense of discovery that comes from quiet and solitude within the landscape. His painting process consists of layering of medium, building up surface and then working back into the painting, almost as if excavating to reveal a glimpse of geological time. Each painting contains its own history, more than is seen simply on the surface, offering subtle underlying elements that lend to emotive nuance, in the end revealing mystery and the gift of discovering solitude.

Dobrowski continues to show stark and rugged beauty of landscape sought out for its drama. With a primarily subdued palette and flattened plane, Dobrowski carefully plays with a fine balance of surrealism to hyper-realism, softening and whether intentional or not, romanticizing what appears as dramatic and inspirational landscape. He portrays through sometimes sharp contrast of color and defined raw edges powerful elements that bring suggestion of place without the mark of mankind, a place not known and waiting for discovery.  

About this series Dobrowski states, “Discover Solitude is a series of paintings in search of a moment of discovery. They are landscapes of nowhere in particular. Places I can only get to through painting. They are built through many layers of paint applied and removed and applied again until that moment of discovery is found. Each piece holds more history than can be seen on the surface. Some have entirely different paintings underneath them, some are supported on wood panels removed from my house. All of this becomes part of the finished painting. One action directs another until I find something that feels new. Something that holds mystery. Something that feels like a return to myself.” 

December 2018 Exhibit

Hook, Pulp and Weave
An Exploration of Fiber as Medium
Celebrate the holidays with Imogen as we host a rich and diverse invitational exhibition exploring fiber. Functional and non-functional work will be included in this unique exhibition of textile based arts. Color, texture and composition form the backbone of this diverse collection including a new selection of hand hooked wall art by Roxy Applegate, artist-made paper lights by Lâm Quãng and Kestrel Gates of HiiH Lights, wall hung mixed fiber art pieces by Susan Circone, nuno felted scarves and wraps by Julie Kern Smith, basketry by Debra Carnes are just a few of the exquisite examples of fiber in art to be presented for the exhibition. The exhibition will open for Astoria’s Second Saturday Artwalk, December 8th with a reception for the artists, 5 – 8 pm.  All are invited to attend and enjoy good company and cheer. Food and drink will be provided by the Astoria Coffeehouse and Bistro. 

Fiber based art has a long running history, with weaving techniques dating back to Neolithic times some 12,000 years ago. It is respected as one of the oldest surviving craft forms in the world that evolved from multiple cultures, including the Incans who utilized textiles as currency, which held a more prominent role then gold for trade. Native Americans, for centuries have created elaborate basketry for all uses, including vessels that were water tight, made from regionally known plant materials. Middle Eastern nomadic tribes, have been respected for intricate hand knotted rugs made of wool and silk, dating back over 4000 years, and the rich illustrative tapestries of the 14th and 15th centuries of European cultures, all helped to forge what we appreciate as textile based art today. The term “fiber arts” came to be applied much later; post World War II with the insurgence of the craft movement. With this came the recognition of craft as fine art and the diminished idea of utilitarian needs. 

Hook, Pulp and Weave is a collection of just a few examples of what textile or fiber arts has evolved into. With the lessening of the importance of function, and the consideration of pure artistic concept being delivered through the fiber medium, artists have found a new voice to explore ancient arts, utilizing texture, color and form. While much of the work included to this exhibition is functional, many pieces are based strictly on principle of art form, utilizing fiber to create compelling and complex pieces. 

Susan Circone of Portland, brings intricate wall hung abstract compositions focusing on brilliant use of texture, pattern and nuance of color. Coming from a former career in geological sciences, her compositions are inspired by nature. About her work she states:  Paying homage to the curvilinear nature of organic forms, especially at the microscopic scale, is the main focus of my work. Repetition of these cell shapes and filaments creates the visual vocabulary that interests me. These abstracted motifs reference the simplest single-celled organisms. I am drawn to the prevalence, perseverance, and resilience of microorganisms, the first forms of life on Earth. They reproduce quickly and readily adapt to changing conditions, often despite the best efforts of mankind to control and defeat them. Our existence is intimately entwined with their presence in our microbiome, and they will continue to thrive long after our species has disappeared from the Earth. Working primarily on a foundation of cotton or silk fabric that she has hand-dyed, discharged and printed, Circone cultivates visual depth with translucent layers of silk organza and thread. Cheesecloth is often used to provide a distorted organic grid that is further manipulated to define the composition. These layers are bound to the foundation with embroidery floss and hand stitched. Finished pieces are then mounted on felt and framed in acrylic cases.

If you are looking to support local artists this year for your holiday gift giving, Astoria represents. We are excited to include a diverse array of fiber based work by Astoria artists, Lâm Quãng and Kestrel Gates of HiiH Lights, Sally Lackaff, Amelia Santiago, Iris Sullivan and Debra Carnes of Cannon Beach. Husband and wife team Lâm Quãng and Kestrel Gates of HiiH Lights, bring new lighting, a whimsical fusion of purposeful and sculptural, created from their own handmade paper, enhanced with natural pigments. Fiber artist, Iris Sullivan of Astoria includes her hand dyed botanical silk scarves and needle felted monsters, Sally Lackaff brings abstract wall hung embroidery, Amelia Santiago has created several of her adorably life like needle felted wool pups and Debra Carnes brings her intricate handwoven, hand dyed basketry. 

Roxy Applegate formerly of Astoria, now residing in Portland, has for years focused on the creation of hooked rugs, dying her own materials and creating her own vibrant designs, she loves color!  This year she brings hand hooked wall hung pieces, incorporating more relief to her designs by use of varying materials. Julie Kern Smith of Portland, shares her rich and sophisticated wraps made of nuno felted wool and repurposed silk, from vintage scarves and kimonos. Her choice of materials are exquisitely brought together through fusion of fiber, creating rich and tactile wearable art forms. Collage artist Gabrielle Lundy of Seattle brings her reclaimed fabric wall hung pieces depicting the Seattle skyline as well as more locally recognized terrain with a spectacular fusion of color and texture and pattern. Anne Grgich, known internationally as an outsider artist brings her own hand stitched and embellished handbags. Crystal and Ben Sloane of upstate New York include their vintage styled whimsical free standing and hanging ornaments created from spun cotton. Hook, Pulp and Weave is an eclectic, tactile and exciting blend of fiber forms that all will enjoy. 

November 2018 Exhibit

Facing You
An Exploration of Portraiture

Imogen is pleased to be presenting the fourth annual invitational exhibition exploring humanity through portraiture.  This year’s exhibition will include the sublime paintings of Reed Clarke, Meghann Hanour and Ruth Shively, all exploring the essence of humanity.  This evocative collection moves beyond a surface glance of an individual, inviting the viewer a step closer and to consider the underlying.  Perhaps even to see ourselves through the eyes of others, and what it means to be a part of mankind.  Each portrait tells a story, we invite you to participate. The exhibition will open for Astoria’s Second Saturday Artwalk, November 10th with a reception for the artists, 5 – 8 pm.  All are invited to attend and enjoy good company, food and drink, provided by the Astoria Coffeehouse and Bistro.  The exhibition will be on view November 10th thru December 4th.

Many artists at some point in their career have placed focus on the human form as subject matter, for some it’s a practice of study, for others it’s a means to participate with humanity on a more intimate level.  Artists Reed Clarke, Meghann Hanour and Ruth Shively fall into that category. Portraiture becomes a vehicle utilized to explore deeper reflection of who we are, what we convey without speaking, simply by stance, expression or direction of gaze.  These artists, all incredibly skilled with chosen medium, bring suggestion of story and history through portrayal of individuals.  

Reed Clarke of Portland, Oregon has dedicated much of his career as a fine artist painting others. Known for his skill as a painter and printmaker, he has had his work juried into Clatsop Community College’s prestigious Au Naturel:  Nudes in the 21st Century exhibition several years running, receiving a first prize award as well as a purchase award from CCC.  He has exhibited his work throughout Portland including a show at the White Gallery of Portland State University. For Imogen’s fourth exhibition Facing You, he brings yet another strong collection of work, inviting the viewer to perhaps create their own story.  His skill is apparent in the nuance of palette to create mood and emotion through an intimate look and consideration into another’s experience, perhaps with a goal of fostering greater understanding and acceptance of who we are.  For this exhibition, Clarke has exchanged his oil paint for acrylic with the goal of creating a unique surface through sheer layers of highly thinned color washes to create luminosity. About this series he states:  “People, the subjects of my work, can in many ways be described as holding layer upon layer of meaning extending to great depths.  In my work I hope to elicit a statement about being human that is familiar, but which seems impossible to say clearly or completely in other mediums.  The idea of having a human subject and the discipline such a subject imposes on the composition of a painting is something I value. My hope is that I am able to portray my subject’s unique presence in the work, but also to somehow allude to the underlying mystery of what it means to be human.”
Imogen is pleased to welcome back the dramatic work of local artist Meghann Hanour. Hanour who is primarily a self-taught artist brings a large scale acrylic painting on canvas. Her work for 20 plus years has been informed by humanity, primarily depictions of women.  Hanour’s command of the figure is without question impressive, both in scale and complexity of posture. She exhibits grace and confidence within every gestural mark, creating powerful and narrative story of strength, endurance and a passion for freedom. Her work is informed in much part by the human experience, particularly through the struggles of women, battling to care, nurture and protect offspring while still fighting for the dignity of freedom of self.

Hanour spends countless hours developing her composition before bringing paint to canvas, creating her own period wardrobe for her models. About her process she elaborates: “I start a painting by first sewing garments for my models, then posing and photographing them to help build lines and images before a brushstroke occurs. I work on big canvases, capturing movement, gesture, joy and pain in my work. Compelled to create beauty and narrative, the ace I feel never relents.” Specific to her piece included in this year’s Facing You, titled “Silvershe states:  “At times, the symbolism behind a piece unfolds before I start. I will sense a groaning, to flesh out a form, while words chart my visual course. Other times, I embrace a posture, feel its weight, and then wait for its meaning to speak as I set my hand to the work. I can see Silver and sense her worth, but her complete cup I don’t understand yet. I paint in hope, by way of faith. I plant the field and expect her fruit to arrive in due season. Birthing this piece began with a struggle, just as it is a struggle finding words to describe her. She stayed silent while I labored over her layers. I hoped to find meaning in her low leash but her hush remained. She kept cold and tall. A languid kind of lady. Mute.”

This year we are excited to include the intimate and evocative paintings of Portland artist Ruth Shively. Like Hanour she is drawn to imagery of women, portraying quiet resilience and an innate sense of strength and beauty. About her work she states:  “I work largely with the figure, concentrating on women. In awe of the strength women behold, I feel the need to express their character through my work. I can't explain how I choose my subjects, I go with my instinct and immediate feelings and drawn to stark, positive/negative space. I like humor, mysteriousness and intimate mood, wanting the viewer to make their own interpretation. I studied drawing and illustration in school but I'm a self-taught painter and prefer this medium as I love the spontaneity of the paint and using color to create space.”   Shively, who grew up in the Midwest has lived in Paris, New York City, Minneapolis and now Portland. She has exhibited her work in numerous group and solo exhibitions that have taken her from Los Angeles to New York and many venues in between.
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